Rev. Dr. Dray Bland

NASHVILLE, TN — Watson Grove Baptist Church “The Grove” announced today the addition of the Reverend Dr. Dray Bland to the organization’s leadership team in the role of Executive Pastor. Bland joins The Grove from the Hospice of Philadelphia, where he served as chaplain. In his new role, Rev. Bland will oversee ministry leaders and lead ministry operations, including working to expand and unify the church, overseeing church services, engaging volunteer leaders and building strong community connections. 

As Chaplain with the Hospice of Philadelphia, Rev. Bland provided pastoral care to patients and families from the poorest zip codes in the city and worked with Temple University Hospital, Albert Einstein Medical Center, Roxborough Hospital and Chestnut Hill Hospital. He also provided bereavement and crisis counseling to families experiencing loss or terminal illness and spiritual support and counseling for hospice staff. 

Previously, Rev. Bland served as the Senior Pastor at First Baptist Church in Burlington, North Carolina with 600 congregation members. At First Institutional Baptist Church in Phoenix, Arizona he served as Executive Minister. He has also worked with the United Metropolitan Missionary Baptist Church in Winston-Salem and Morehead Avenue Baptist Church in Durham.

“The experience that Rev. Bland’s extensive background brings, especially in the area of building people within the Kingdom of God, along with his deep understanding of business and community relationships, will help The Grove continue serving and growing,” said senior pastor, Rev. Dr. John R. Faison, Sr. “With a proven track record of maximizing the growth potential of others in order to achieve strategic faith-based goals, Bland’s appointment will position us to continue growing at The Grove.”

Rev. Bland served as the President of National Baptist Youth Convention of America from 2006 to 2008. He is a board member at Impact Alamance and the General Baptist State Convention of North Carolina Ordination, a council member with the Rowan Baptist Association, and former president of Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance of Alamance County and Vicinity. He also served previously as board chair with AMOS of Alamance, commissioner of the Burlington Housing Authority Board of Commissioners, and a board member with Advocacy for the Poor.

Rev. Bland earned a Doctor of Ministry in Church Leadership from Southern Methodist University and a Master of Divinity from The Divinity School at Duke University. His undergraduate studies in political science and religion were conducted at Florida State University.

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